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Electronic Privacy Information Center

February 16, 2010 | By Jessica Guynn
This was not the kind of buzz Google Inc. wanted to generate. The Internet giant took the unusual step of apologizing to users over the weekend for features in its new social networking service, Google Buzz, that some people said violated their privacy. It also tweaked the product for the second time in less than a week. Now Google is planning further updates. It's also going to change how it tests new features, Google product manager Todd Jackson said in an interview Monday.
May 28, 2010
Hooray, Facebook saved the Internet! OK, so maybe that's making too much of the privacy controls that Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg unveiled Wednesday. But if the company hadn't addressed the uproar over its ever-changing privacy policy, there was a real possibility that Washington would have stepped in with new rules that would have applied to all social network operators, or even all websites. And we'd like to keep the nanny state away from the Net as long as possible. That's not to defend what Facebook has been doing.
March 9, 2004 | Brian Doherty, Brian Doherty is a senior editor at Reason magazine.
One man parked on the side of the road in Humboldt County, Nevada, in May 2000 was brave enough to say no to a police officer when ordered to identify himself. The officer "just walked up and started demanding my papers," Larry Hiibel told Associated Press. "I was there on that road minding my own business." He refused and, as a result, was arrested. Now Hiibel may end up redefining our ability to move in public without having every aspect of our lives investigated at the whim of the police.
February 13, 2010 | By Jessica Guynn
Actress Felicia Day is an avid user of Google Inc.'s Gmail. But definitely not a Google Buzz user. After the new service popped into her in box, she wrote: "Disabling now. Heart attack." Day, who created a popular Web show called "The Guild," was not alone in her privacy concerns. Google support forums have been filled with questions and complaints. Commented one: "Don't set up a new application and have me 'following' a bunch of randoms from my address book. That's not a 'feature,' that's a 'mistake.
February 8, 2012 | By Jessica Guynn, This post has been updated, as indicated below
A privacy watchdog has filed a federal lawsuit against the Federal Trade Commission in a bid to stop Google from rolling out its new privacy policy. In an unusual legal maneuver, the Electronic Privacy Information Center is asking a federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order and injunction that would require the FTC to enforce the consent order it reached with Google last year. Google settled with the FTC on charges that it deceived users and violated its own privacy policy when it launched the now defunct Buzz social network.
June 6, 2010 | Michael Hiltzik
Long before Facebook got blamed for turning the concept of online privacy into a sick joke, I could tell that the Internet was going to make the control of one's personal information a challenge. That moment arrived in the late 1990s, when I realized that my listed phone number, previously accessible only to those who knew enough about me to know where I lived and therefore which local phone book to check or which 411 operator to call, had become available to anyone capable of typing my name — and that's all — into an online database.
April 27, 2010 | By Jessica Guynn, Reporting from San Francisco
Lawmakers and privacy watchdogs are asking Facebook Inc. to roll back a new feature that they say invades the privacy of the popular online social network's more than 400 million users. Adding to controversy over the new feature, four U.S. senators objected Tuesday to Facebook sharing users' personal information with other websites without the explicit consent of the users. They want Facebook to ask users to "opt into" the feature that personalizes content on three other websites rather than "opt out" of it. "Social networking sites have become the Wild West of the Internet," Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.
July 6, 2010 | By Ken Dilanian, Los Angeles Times
Last Christmas Day, after a Nigerian walked onto a Detroit-bound passenger jet with powdered explosives sewn into his underwear, people wondered: Isn't there a machine that could find that sort of stuff? In fact, there is: Full-body scanners that peer under clothing to detect anomalies. While there's no certainty the machines would have caught Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, no one disputes they are superior to metal detectors at finding explosives, which is why the U.S. Transportation Security Administration is now deploying the imagers at airports nationwide.
August 21, 2011 | By Shan Li and David Sarno, Los Angeles Times
Picture this: You stop in front of a digital advertising display at a mall and suddenly an ad pops up touting makeup, followed by one for shoes and then one for butter pecan ice cream. It seems to know you're a woman in your late 20s and, in fact, it does. When you looked at the display, it scanned your facial features and tailored its messages to you. Once the stuff of science fiction and high-tech crime fighting, facial recognition technology has become one of the newest tools in marketing, even though privacy concerns abound.
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